Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ensuring Safety on Election Day

Going to the polls on Election Day in the States can be a stressful event, especially for those so dedicated as to wait for hours in long lines like so many did last November. But rarely do voters have to fear for their physical safety. The same is not true in Afghanistan, where, on August 20, voters will exercise their still only recently acquired democratic rights by casting their votes in the second presidential election since the collapse of the Taliban regime eight years ago.

In response to the likely threat of election violence, the UNDP, in conjunction with the EU’s Police Mission and the Afghan Interior Ministry, has recently launched a program to train over 35,000 police forces to promote voter safety on Election Day. The Election Support Project not only reinforces training to ensure safety to voters, but informs officers on the laws and standards for the election to help ensure election fairness.

With much at stake in this election for the future of Afghanistan and the world, the UNDP’s work is crucial in ensuring elections are free, fair, and safe for all.